Acre Thomas Fire in Southern California Now 100% Contained

Santa Barbara County Fire Department fire burns canyons and ridges above Bella Vista Drive near Romero Canyon as the fight to contain a wildfire continues in Montecito Calif

Firefighters have still not determined the cause of the fire.

According to news released by Los Padres National Forest officials, the Thomas Fire began on December 4 and over a month later had burned 281,893 acres, destroyed 1,063 Structures and damaged 280 more. However it started, the fire was fueled by strong Santa Ana winds and by the overall lack of precipitation this fall and winter, turning the brush, tall grass and chaparral in the area into fuels, according to the Forest Service. The fire burned almost 282,000 acres and destroyed more than 1,000 structures.

The fire killed at least: Virginia Pesola, 70, of Santa Paula and Cory Iverson, 32, a firefighter from San Diego. He died with his wife of more than 50 years, Alice.


The Thomas Fire put a cap on what was the costliest year for wildfires in United States history, with $10 billion in damage.

Burned barren by the fire, the hills in the area made easy prey for recent heavy rains, loosing rivers of mud that found little resistance from the scant vegetation that remained. The Thomas Fire left hillsides and landscape vulnerable in the region, with Montecito receiving the brunt of the downpour and destruction, resulting in at least 13 deaths, 25 injured and 50 rescues by air and dozens by ground due to mudslides and flooding.

Its historic toll in Southern California - more than 280,000 acres ravaged - also led to another deadly disaster: the mudslides this month in Santa Barbara County.

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